Opinion: A concert mom’s take on Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster

Editor’s note: Amy Bass (@bassab1) is a professor of sports studies at Manhattanville College and the author of “One Goal: One Coach, One Team, and the Plays A Divided Town Together” and “Not the Triumph but the Struggle: The 1968 Olympics and the Making of the.” Black Athlete,” among other topics. The views expressed here are his alone. Read more reviews on CNN.



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In the midst of the Taylor Swift ticket mania that has dominated my life — and the lives of millions of others — over the past week or so, I’ve been thinking about how my mom, when I was just 15, would get me one. lie for At a Ramones show at a theater in Albany, New York, many years ago.

Amy Bass

She took me and my friend to the show with the intention of reading a good book in the parking lot, but stopped coming in with us when we were stopped at the door for being underage and without ID. After we finally got in, a cute bouncer took one look at us and said to my mom, “You get back in there and get out – I’ll keep an eye on them.”

While I remember every detail of that epic show, perhaps especially the moment when Joey Ramone handed me a guitar pick, more important to me now is the wonderful example of parenting my mother set.

Now, more decades ahead than I’m willing to admit, I’m the concert-gear mom of a 15-year-old, navigating the world of tickets, transportation, and “the march,” and giving advice on how best to work hard. – Cut the child maintenance amount. I’m lucky that I’m not alone in this endeavor, as my life’s bestie, who I’ve had more shows with than anyone else, is a girl from her high school. The four of us, together, are now concert buddies.

It has been a wonderful experience. I loved every second of watching our girls fight for position in the strip at the Harry Styles show as we watched from the bar (pro tip: no lines at the Madison Square Garden bar at a Harry Styles concert). Finally, we, too, join the cacophony of feather boas and sequins that make up Harry’s House, marveling at his audience and his connection to the diversity and strong community that is his fan base.

Indeed, just as we once joined the thousands of voices leaving a U2 show singing “40” after the band left the building, our girls are part of a generation of fans who are finding each other, especially . Screamed the young woman who entered the MSG bathroom and announced that she was in “Harry’s House” to herself and a horde of people who immediately shouted, “Come with us!” – No questions asked.

While it all feels worth it, none of it is easy, as exemplified by the legions of parents and fans who are unable to get tickets to these shows, whether due to exorbitant pricing strategies or restrictive and unfair practices. Because of access.

When Taylor Swift released “Midnights” on Oct. 21 at, well, midnight, and then delivered another version, “Midnights (3M Edition),” three hours later, I knew it wasn’t easy for millions of kids coming to school. would have. day. Indeed, a midnight album drop — especially when there’s a test the next day — is a virtual party for our kids, leading me to hope that Swift’s next album might be titled “Saturday Afternoon,” or something to that effect. something for

When Swift announced the Era Tour on November 1st, a pit of dread grew in my stomach. His first tour since 2018, his repertoire now includes material he has never played live, with many fans who have never had the chance to see him. One of my experiences with Ticketmaster’s “verified fan” process, designed, allegedly, to keep out scalpers, went awry. I got the email telling me I was selected, but I never received the text with the code.

My experience a week before Taylor Tuesday heightened my skepticism of the system: Ticketmaster Louis Tomlinson was twice thwarted in my attempts to get tickets, a star with nowhere near the fanbase to compete with “softies.” Every time I threw “general admission” tickets into my cart – no seat assigned – it told me another fan had “caught” them and I needed to try again. How could this be, I wondered, if the tickets were general admission?

Alas, it did not matter: for Taylor Swift, I was waiting, whatever that means. My sister joined the waiting list. My niece joined the waiting list. But, lo and behold, my friend came.

“I got a code,” he texted. “I got a code.”

We know it will still be difficult. Really, really hard. But we’ve been doing it, together, for so long. Back in the day, it wasn’t online codes — we slept in front of record stores and in parking lots, getting expensive wristbands to hold our place in line, while hoping for the best seats we could get for Prince, Can get for U2 and Def. Leopard. Once, on a particularly cold morning, my social studies teacher showed us all donuts; He was happy when we had the tickets in hand.

Getting tickets today is a very solitary experience that revolves around laptops and phones – with computerized and mechanized virtual waiting rooms and queues, and the so-called dynamic pricing system that Ticketmaster uses to vary ticket prices. to do We combed TikTok and Twitter for tips and hacks, praising posts that expressed the stress of being the only member of a friend group who got the code. We had already cleared our calendars for Tuesday morning, and we were ready for battle, knowing that an online bookie site estimated that around 2.8 million Era tickets would be sold, which gave us a bit of a boost. But even less shot at getting tickets.

“Good luck – don’t hesitate but take your time but also very quickly.” I believe in you,” her daughter texted minutes before the prequel went live.

There is no pressure. No pressure.

In short, she got it. They’re not great seats, they’re not on the night we want them, and he’s had to deal with a “Hold on, we’re saving your confirmed tickets” message that finally lands in his inbox. Before getting confirmation. But as word got out about what happened throughout the day, we felt as lucky as moms can feel, especially as heartbroken fans and their parents began sharing their experiences — tickets ripped from their cars. Windows, website crashes, and error code after error code. Flashing people on the screen.

“I’m officially telling someone I have tickets to Taylor Swift,” a neighbor — the only other person I know who got tickets — texted me. “I feel like I’m going to get stuck in the street.”

While Ticketmaster quelled the initial furor by announcing “unprecedented historic demand” on Tuesday and thanking fans for their “patience”, people started asking questions. Why issue more codes than tickets? Why create more entry points than capacity?

So as I plan to be in the trenches with my child, trying to nurture his love for music as my mother did for me, change must be on the horizon for the illegal monopoly that young people have on concerts. Sells tickets. With “Swifties” increasingly angry at the star himself – a generational artist who has already completely influenced the industry – on TikTok, often citing that “I’ve never been so quiet Ain’t heard loud” song, “Our Story,” Some lawmakers, from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, are getting vocal about the issue.

“Ticketmaster’s strength in the primary ticket market insulates it from competitive pressures that typically push companies to innovate and improve their services,” said Klobuchar, who serves on the Senate Committee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights. Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee, wrote in an open letter. Michael Rapno, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment (which oversees Ticketmaster). “This could result in the types of dramatic service failures we saw this week, where consumers are the ones who pay the price.”

That price went up, way up. When Ticketmaster announced the cancellation of the scheduled public sale for the Era Tour on Thursday, claiming “insufficient inventory” after a “surprising number of bot attacks” during the presale, my heart broke for the thousands of fans now officially Left empty-handed, and parents and grandparents and friends, who tried very hard to get them there.

I’ve had those days too – returning home because a night in the parking lot wasn’t enough to get me a ticket to a show.

We have to improve.



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